Author Topic: Bear numbers this spring  (Read 1570 times)

Doug N

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Bear numbers this spring
« on: June 01, 2012, 12:33:26 PM »
I'm curious how bear numbers look thoughout the province this spring.....In my travels, I saw my first bear on Wednesday morning. It was HUGE and didn't wait around to give me a good look.

I put on a lot of miles in the Conklin area and I travel at peak times- early in the am and late evening. I usually see a lot more.

I'm wondering if the total lack of a berry crop last fall resulted in some winter mortality.

What did you guys experience?

JIMMY 808

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 03:23:28 PM »
Hi and lows like anything around rocky in the baiting zones I belive it was slow.  On my afternoon ride today could hardly keep the dog off point on ruff grouse.  This area is defontly on a low grouse cycle so a good spring would be great.  A buddie of mine in PG this spring on a 5 day grizz hunt saw 60 plus blacks and 15 grizz I am waiting for him to send me the pics.

sheepguide

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 04:03:43 PM »
Deffinetly slow in a few areas I hunted. Nordegg where I've been traveling is a real late spring. Talk to a couple operators and they had been seeing fewer than normal but that is probably reverent to very little grass until this last week and the snow just leaving the high country and even east of Nordegg in certain areas until the last couple weeks. Covered a lot of ground out there the last two weeks and the nice part was I didn't see much for hunters.

Wabasca as well was slow up to when I left 2 weeks ago but not sure what its been like lately.

Another buddy and AS member text me and had been hunting in the NW area I believe and said they  seen some bears but not the big ones they are used to seeing.

From all the reports I've heard it just seems like a late year in most areas. As far as numbers go though I'm not sure they are down but some area aren't showing normal numbers but I wouldn't say it's lower populations.
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nube

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 05:26:15 PM »
Doug , I don't think the berry crop has to do with the mortality.  The thing that kills the bears is the lack of snow.  They need the snow cover to cover the dens which keeps them warmer.  Young bears are not great at learning the ropes at denning and may not get a good den site and with real cold winters they are more exposed if there is less snow around.  It makes sense that there should have been a higher chance for bear deaths last year with the lack of snow we got in some areas. 

That being said I don't know how to really calculate how well they are doing.  Spring weather is different every year.  A lot of seeing them has to do with how things green up.  I know my buddy went out one evening and saw 8 bears from 4pm and dark.  When I go out spot and stalk I never leave camp to go hunt till 4pm at the earliest as it seem the bears don't move till late afternoon.  It has worked well in the past.  Usually go fishing in the morning and then go.  Never seen a bear early morning before myself.  Not that it isn't possible but never had much luck is all. 

Doug N

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 09:32:27 PM »
Lots to consider for sure. This is my 12th spring working that area and was by far the lowest number of bear sitings.

Nube- your theory on snow, den sites, and mortality sounds valid. There was not a lot of snow until late this winter. Years ago, I helped with the bear study in the Conklin area. It amazed me where some of those bears would den up. A couple were simply dug in JUST under the moss, in the middle of a muskeg, with not a tree in sight.

nube

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 11:36:55 PM »
I was told this theory by a bear outfitter that used to do a lot of side studies with bears.  I am not sure how valid it is but I have heard it from one other guy as well and it makes sense.  I too have found bear dens when I was guiding and it is surprising how small and shallow a lot of them are.  Like I said the young bears don't know better and need some experience.  I think their lack of experience sometimes kills them the first go  around though. 

Dark Wing

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 10:20:01 AM »
I've seen more grizzly sign than black bear this spring. I've also seen where a few black bears have been dug out of their dens and  killed over the years. So maybe the expanding grizzly population is knocking back the black bear numbers.

Ibow

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Re: Bear numbers this spring
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012, 04:24:40 PM »
Young bears are not great at learning the ropes at denning and may not get a good den site and with real cold winters they are more exposed if there is less snow around.  It makes sense that there should have been a higher chance for bear deaths last year with the lack of snow we got in some areas.
While in Alberta hunting last week I noticed two different yearlings with no ears at all ... just little white outlines where the edges of the ears would normally begin. I asked my outfitter about it and he said exactly the same thing - the younger bears aren't real experienced at picking out good denning locations and these cubs probably had their ears literally freeze off because of exposure.